Issac…Jacob…Joseph – familiar Biblical names associated with faith. What else did these men have in common?
Each of them died young at an old age. They experienced disappointment without bitterness. Faith that works will bring you to the end of your life believing not bitter.
We’ve all seen it happen to people we know and love. They become bitter, angry, and filled with resentment because life didn’t turn out the way they thought it would. Isaac had the promise of a land of his own but he died without seeing it fulfilled. Jacob had the same promise and he died in Egypt. Joseph had the same promise but died in Egypt too. If ever any one had the right to become bitter it was these three men—Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. They lived and died with the promise unfulfilled but to their credit they never gave up hope.
The also lived in imperfect families. Issac likely lived over-protected. Jacob was a schemer, a born cheater, and a compulsive manipulator. All his life he had “worked the angles” to get ahead. Years earlier he had deceived his father and cheated his brother. Jacob and Esau didn’t get along very well, and Jacob’s sons fought among themselves. They found out that God’s grace can overrule our imperfections.
Their faith also helped them pass on a blessing to their descendants. The disappointments of life and the imperfections of their families did not deter them from serving the Lord. They chose to envision a future for their children, grandchildren and nation that was God-centred and prosperous. The following references contain the blessings they “paid forward.”
Issac – Gen. 27:28,29
Jacob – Gen. 48:1-27
Joseph – Gen. 50:25,26 (Joshua 24:32)
Every believing parent wants the faith of their children to be stronger and more vibrant than theirs. How?
In the book, Fabric of Faithfulness, Stephen Garber shares three characteristics of young adults who stay strong in their faith:
1. They develop strong convictions based on a biblical worldview that addresses real-world challenges.
2. They have caring mentors who demonstrate that it is possible to successfully live out a biblical worldview.
3. They are involved in a vibrant community of people who share their values and life experiences and commit to living godly lives.
North Pointe is not a perfect church, but we do evidence those characteristics in an increasing way. We hope we make it more likely for families to securely pass the baton of faith.